More than 800 nurses in Homa Bay County have issued a two days strike notice because of delayed salary payment and shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The nurses threatened to down their tools from Thursday should the Homa Bay government fail to address their grievances.
The Homa Bay branch National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK), said the two issues are important in their lives especially as they fight
Through their secretary Omondi Nyonje and chairperson Dina Pinya, they argued that the employer has not abided by their terms of contract on
“We agreed we would get paid before fifth of every month but our employer hasn’t complied. We’ll not go to work from Thursday if they don’t pay us,” Nyonje said.
In their letter to Homa Bay health department headed by Professor Richard Muga and copied to the Finance office andthat of the county secretary Isaiah, the nurses said they have not yet received the salary for March.
Nyonje said delayed payment of health workers demoralises them from battling the covid-19 pandemic.
“You cannot work when you’re hungry. Let Homa Bay government pay nurses to avoid squabbles which may result to strike,” he added.
According to Pinya, nurses at a number of health facilities and their staff do not receive adequate PPEs as required to protect them from coronavirus.
She said they agreed that each sub county was to get at least 400 masks for staff in their respective health facilities but the employer
has not complied.
Pinya said the county government distributes only 150 masks daily to the health staff.
“Shortage of masks, other personal protective equipment and lack of money make working environment demoralising,” Pinya said.
They argued that the county government has adequate PPEs but they do not know why they are not distributed to medics to use.
“The demand for masks has increased especially in hospitals. Nurses are on frontline in the fight against covid-19 hence they should get
protected,” she added.
However, the county health Chief Officer Gerald Akeche said they are planning to engage the medical workers in talks to address the
Akeche said the delayed salary remittance is due to prevailing economic situation.
“We’re communicating with all health workers and I hope they will soon get paid. It’s important to note that this is the time we need to fight the covid-19 pandemic collectively,” Akeche said.
Absence of nurses from hospitals will paralyse health care services in Homa Bay especially the fight against coronavirus.
Homa Bay has registered a case of covid-19 after a driver tested positive for the virus.
About 60 doctors in the county had also complained of lack of money after the government failed to pay them.
By Dan Oduor and Davis Langat